Sometimes Mama Bug complains about a lack of things to do in the area where we live, and the Lucky Bugs are proud Canadians, but one of the many things that we are grateful for is just how close we are to the U.S.A. Not only does this make it more convenient for travel but it also gives us the huge advantage of being just a short drive to the Detroit airport (which offers several different airlines at much lower prices than in Canada.) We really are able to take advantage of having access to departures from both countries. That leads to my next post… Chicago. While it certainly is drivable from where we live, and a flight is only about one hour in duration, when the Bugs want to visit the “windy city” we love to take the train.
As an “only bug,” it’s always a treat to travel with a friend, this little getaway was a part of both girl’s Christmas gifts, and as you can see – they were all smiles.
You may remember from my New York post, that the American Girl Place was mentioned, well we could not think of a better way to start off the trip than with a visit to the store and lunch at the cafe.
If you have, or if you know of a girl under the age of 12 – then you are probably familiar with the American Girl name. The Chicago store was the very first one and is located at the Water Tower Place on Michigan Ave. This place is more than a store, it also contains a restaurant, bake shop, hair salon, doll hospital and more – and did I mention it is 52,000 square feet in size?
This is the hair salon, where you can wait in line and for a fee get your doll’s hair styled, oh and yes they also pierce the doll’s ears if that interests you. (yes, I’m serious!)
Lunch and dessert was a little pricy but were actually quite good. If this is something that you are interested in doing, every time that we have went there has been a “walk in” waiting list so I highly recommend getting a reservation (can be made online or by phone) to one of the available seatings. And if shopping and lunch is not enough “girl time,” several of the area hotels offer American Girl packages that include little extras. For example, our package included cookies & milk, an American Girl movie rental and each of the girls got a bed for their doll that they could bring home.
Chicago is a great city for walking, especially the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave.) Hundreds of shops and restaurants line both sides of the street, where you can find just about anything.
Chicago is also known for it’s deep dish pizza, there’s nothing like it – sooo good! There are a few different chains, but we really like Giordano’s. Think ahead of your hunger if you plan on going because the wait can be very long, another idea may be to go at an off time – for example we went for “lupper” (between lunch and supper) at approx 3:00 on one of our visits and walked right in.
Another fun place to visit in the city is the Navy Pier. In the summer time it has a small amusement area with some rides and a ferris wheel, as well as lots of little shops and restaurants. We did a Seadog Cruise (high speed boat on the lakefront) a few summers ago that was a lot of fun. These tours operate April through October and there are a few different itineraries to choose from.
In the winter, Navy Pier has an annual Winter Wonderfest that runs all of December through part of January. Everything is indoor, including mini golf, ice skating, ice climbing wall and carnival type rides. In our opinion this seemed to be geared to the under 10 age group.
“DON’T WANNA MISS A THINGS”:
- Shedd Aquarium – we have been to a few aquariums over the years but this one was definitely one of our top picks. A great way to spend the afternoon (or longer), especially if it’s a cold and rainy day. And don’t forget to visit our favourites – the beluga whales!
- Garrett’s Popcorn – like pizza, Chicago is also known for it’s tasty popcorn – and famous for the “Chicago Mix” which is a mixture of cheese corn and caramel corn (sounds gross, but trust me it’s not). There are several locations throughout the city, and this is the perfect snack for the train ride home!